1 Peter 5:1
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
V.

(1-11) FURTHER EXHORTATIONS SUGGESTED BY THE CRISIS.—The officers of the community are not to flinch from the duties imposed upon them, nor yet to perform them in any spirit of self-assertion. The laity, on the other hand, are to observe discipline. Indeed, mutual submission is the only safe-guard in the face of a common danger. An unbroken front must be presented, and the sense of brotherhood fostered.

(1) The elders which are among you . . .—The best text preserves the word “therefore” after “elders.” In view, that is, of these hopes and threats, of the present persecution, and of the coming judgment, St. Peter gives his solemn charge to those who shared with him the responsibility of office in the Church. The word rendered “exhort” is that common New Testament word (parakalô), which we miss in English, including encouragement and entreaty, and even consolation, as well as exhortation. (See, e.g., Acts 4:36,) The whole of this Epistle is an example of such paraclesis.

Who am also an elder.—St. Peter is giving no irresponsible advice. He knows by experience the dangers which beset the office. The head Christian of the world, and writing from the thick of the persecution already begun in Rome, the Asiatic elders cannot set his advice down as that of some easy layman who is untouched by the difficulty. It can hardly be said, therefore, that this is an example of St. Peter’s humility, as though he recognised in himself no higher office than that of these presbyters. The effect is, on the contrary, to make the recipients of the Letter feel that he is using a strong argument à fortiori.

And a witness of the sufferings of Christ.—The Greek word calls attention, not so much to the fact of his having been a spectator, an eye-witness, but rather to the fact of his bearing testimony to the sufferings. Here again, too, it is in Greek “the sufferings of the Christ.” (See Note on 1Peter 1:11.) Not only did St. Peter know, by bearing office himself, what the dangers of office were, but he was able to testify how the Messiah Himself, the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, had suffered, from which it was natural to conclude that all Christians also were destined to suffer.

And also a partaker of the glory . . .—This splendid assurance follows naturally from being a witness of the sufferings of the Christ. “I am in as much danger as any of you,” the Apostle says, “but I can testify that the Christ Himself suffered thus, and therefore I knew that we who suffer with Him are even now partakers of the glory, though a veil at present hides. it.” St. Peter insists in the same way on our present possession of what will not be shown us for a time in 1Peter 1:5.

1 Peter 5:1. The elders which are among you I exhort — This was a name of office belonging to those who were appointed to feed and oversee the flock of Christ. They are indifferently called bishops, pastors, or rulers. The apostle addresses them here particularly, because the knowledge and good behaviour of the people depend, in a great measure, upon the kind of instruction which they receive from their teachers, and upon the care which their teachers take of them: who am also an elder — Or rather, a fellow- elder, as συμπρεσβυτερος signifies. So Peter, the first, and one of the chief, though not the head, of the apostles, appositely and modestly styles himself. Commentators justly observe, that if Peter had been the prince of the apostles, as the Papists affirm, he would in this place, and in the inscription of his two epistles, certainly have assumed to himself that high prerogative. And a witness of the sufferings of Christ — Having seen him suffer, and now suffering with him. “One of the purposes for which Christ chose twelve of his disciples to be with him always was, that, having heard his discourses, and seen his miracles and sufferings, they might be able to testify these things to the world as what they themselves heard and saw. Wherefore μαρτυς, a witness, in this passage, signifies not only one who was present at a transaction, but who testifies it to others.” These two circumstances of Peter’s being a fellow-elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, are mentioned by him to give weight to his exhortation. And also a partaker — That is, hoping to be a partaker; of the glory that shall be revealed — When he shall appear the second time, in circumstances so different from those in which he appeared before; a glory which shall be bestowed on all faithful pastors, in different degrees; yea, and on all his genuine followers.5:1-4 The apostle Peter does not command, but exhorts. He does not claim power to rule over all pastors and churches. It was the peculiar honour of Peter and a few more, to be witnesses of Christ's sufferings; but it is the privilege of all true Christians to partake of the glory that shall be revealed. These poor, dispersed, suffering Christians, were the flock of God, redeemed to God by the great Shepherd, living in holy love and communion, according to the will of God. They are also dignified with the title of God's heritage or clergy; his peculiar lot, chosen for his own people, to enjoy his special favour, and to do him special service. Christ is the chief Shepherd of the whole flock and heritage of God. And all faithful ministers will receive a crown of unfading glory, infinitely better and more honourable than all the authority, wealth, and pleasure of the world.The elders which are among you I exhort - The word "elder" means, properly, "one who is old;" but it is frequently used in the New Testament as applicable to the officers of the church; probably because aged persons were at first commonly appointed to these offices. See Acts 11:30, note; Acts 14:23, note; Acts 15:2, note. There is evidently an allusion here to the fact that such persons were selected on account of their age, because in the following verses (1 Peter 5:4) the apostle addresses particularly the younger. It is worthy of remark, that he here refers only to one class of ministers. He does not speak of three "orders," of "bishops, priests, and deacons;" and the evidence from the passage here is quite strong that there were no such orders in the churches of Asia Minor, to which this Epistle was directed. It is also worthy of remark, that the word "exhort" is here used. The language which Peter uses is not that of stern and arbitrary command; it is that of kind and mild Christian exhortation. Compare the notes at Plm 1:8-9.

Who am also an elder - Greek: "a fellow-presbyter," (συμπρεσβύτερος sumpresbuteros.) This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means that he was a co-presbyter with them; and he makes this one of the grounds of his exhortation to them. He does not put it on the ground of his apostolical authority; or urge it because he was the vicegerent of Christ; or because he was the head of the church; or because he had any pre-eminence over others in any way. Would he have used this language if he had been the "head of the church" on earth? Would he if he supposed that the distinction between apostles and other ministers was to be perpetuated? Would he if he believed that there were to be distinct orders of clergy? The whole drift of this passage is adverse to such a supposition.

And a witness of the sufferings of Christ - Peter was indeed a witness of the sufferings of Christ when on his trial, and doubtless also when he was scourged and mocked, and when he was crucified. After his denial of his Lord, he wept bitterly, and evidently then followed him to the place where he was crucified, and, in company with others, observed with painful solicitude the last agonies of his Saviour. It is not, so far as I know, expressly said in the Gospels that Peter was pre sent at the crucifixion of the Saviour; but it is said Luke 23:49 that "all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things," and nothing is more probable than that Peter was among them. His warm attachment to his Master, and his recent bitter repentance for having denied him, would lead him to follow him to the place of his death; for after the painful act of denying him he would not be likely to expose himself to the charge of neglect, or of any want of love again. His own solemn declaration here makes it certain that he was present. He alludes to it now, evidently because it qualified him to exhort those whom he addressed. It would be natural to regard with special respect one who had actually seen the Saviour in his last agony, and nothing would be more impressive than an exhortation falling from the lips of such a man. A son would be likely to listen with great respect to any suggestions which should be made by one who had seen his father or mother die. The impression which Peter had of that scene he would desire to have transferred to those whom he addressed, that by a lively view of the sufferings of their Saviour they might be excited to fidelity in his cause.

And a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed - Another reason to make his exhortation impressive and solemn. He felt that he was an heir of life. He was about to partake of the glories of heaven. Looking forward, as they did also, to the blessed world before him and them, he had a right to exhort them to the faithful performance of duty. Anyone, who is himself an heir of salvation, may appropriately exhort his fellow-Christians to fidelity in the service of their common Lord.

CHAPTER 5

1Pe 5:1-14. Exhortations to Elders, Juniors, and All in General. Parting Prayer. Conclusion.

1. elders—alike in office and age (1Pe 5:5).

I … also an elder—To put one's self on a level with those whom we exhort, gives weight to one's exhortations (compare 2Jo 1, 2). Peter, in true humility for the Gospel's sake, does not put forward his apostleship here, wherein he presided over the elders. In the apostleship the apostles have no successors, for "the signs of an apostle" have not been transmitted. The presidents over the presbyters and deacons, by whatever name designated, angel, bishop, or moderator, &c., though of the same ORDER as the presbyters, yet have virtually succeeded to a superintendency of the Church analogous to that exercised by the apostles (this superintendency and priority existed from the earliest times after the apostles [Tertullian]); just as the Jewish synagogue (the model which the Church followed) was governed by a council of presbyters, presided over by one of themselves, "the chief ruler of the synagogue." (Compare Vitringa [Synagogue and Temple, Part II, chs. 3 and 7]).

witness—an eye-witness of Christ's sufferings, and so qualified to exhort you to believing patience in suffering for well-doing after His example (1Pe 4:19; 2:20). This explains the "therefore" inserted in the oldest manuscripts, "I therefore exhort," resuming exhortation from 1Pe 4:19. His higher dignity as an apostle is herein delicately implied, as eye-witnessing was a necessary qualification for apostleship: compare Peter's own speeches, Ac 1:21, 22; 2:32; 10:39.

also—implying the righteous recompense corresponding to the sufferings.

partaker of the glory—according to Christ's promise; an earnest of which was given in the transfiguration.1 Peter 5:1-4 The elders are exhorted to feed the flock of Christ

conscientiously, looking to the chief Shepherd for

a reward.

1 Peter 5:5 The younger are required to submit to the elder, and

all to practise humility toward each other,

1 Peter 5:6,7 with resignation to God,

1 Peter 5:8,9 to be sober, watchful, and stedfast in the faith,

resisting the devil.

1 Peter 5:10-14 The Epistle is concluded with a prayer and benediction.

The elders which are among you I exhort; viz. those that were such, not so much by age as by office, as appears by his exhorting them to feed the flock, 1 Peter 5:2; he means the ordinary ministers of the churches among the believing Jews.

Who am also an elder: elder is a general name, comprehending under it even apostles themselves, who were elders, though every elder were not an apostle.

And a witness; either:

1. In his doctrine, in which he held forth Christ’s sufferings, whereof he had been an eye-witness, in which respect the apostles are often called witnesses, Luke 24:48 Acts 1:8,22 2:32. Or:

2. In his example, in that he in suffering so much for Christ, did give an ample testimony to the reality of Christ’s sufferings, and that Christ had indeed suffered: or, both may well be comprehended.

The glory that shall be revealed; viz. at Christ’s last coming, 1 Peter 1:5 4:13 Romans 8:17,18.

The elders which are among you I exhort,.... The apostle returns to particular exhortations, after having finished his general ones, and which chiefly concern patient suffering for Christ; and having particularly exhorted subjects to behave aright to civil magistrates, servants to their masters, and husbands and wives mutually to each other, here proceeds to exhort "elders" to the discharge of their office and duty; by whom are meant, not the elder in age, or the more ancient brethren in the churches, though they are distinguished from the younger, in 1 Peter 5:5 but men in office, whose business it was to feed the flock, as in 1 Peter 5:2 and though these might be generally the elder men, and whose office required, at least, senile gravity and prudence, yet they were not always so; sometimes young men, as Timothy, and others, were chosen into this office, which is the same with that of pastors, bishops, or overseers; for these are synonymous names, and belong to persons in the same office: and these are said to be "among" them, being members of the churches, and called out from among them to the pastoral office, and who were set over them in the Lord, and had their residence in the midst of them; for where should elders or pastors be, but with and among their flocks? they were fixed among them; and in this an elder differs from an apostle; an elder was tied down to a particular church, whereas an apostle was at large, and had authority in all the churches; and these the Apostle Peter does not command in an authoritative way, though he might lawfully have used his apostolic power; but he chose rather to exhort, entreat, and beseech, and that under the same character they bore:

who also am an elder; or, "who am a fellow elder"; and so the Syriac version renders it; and which expresses his office, and not his age, and is entirely consistent with his being an apostle; for though that is an higher office than a pastor, or elder, yet it involves that, and in some things agrees with it; as in preaching the word, and administering ordinances; and is mentioned to show the propriety and pertinency of his exhortation to the elders; for being an elder himself, it was acting in character to exhort them; nor could it be objected to as impertinent and unbecoming; and since he was still in an higher office, on which account he could have commanded, it shows great humility in him to put himself upon a level with them, and only entreat and beseech them; he does not call himself the prince of the apostles and pastors, and the vicar of Christ, as his pretended successor does, but a fellow elder:

and a witness of the sufferings of Christ; as he was even an eyewitness of many of them; of his exceeding great sorrow in his soul, of his agony and bloody sweat in the garden, and of his apprehension, and binding by the officers and soldiers there; and of the contumelious usage he met with in the high priest's hall, where was mocked, blindfolded, buffeted, and smote upon the face; if not of his sufferings on the cross; since it is certain John was then present; and quickly after we read of Peter and he being together, John 19:26 and therefore a very fit person to exhort these elders to feed the churches under their care with the preaching of a crucified Christ; since he, from his certain knowledge, could affirm his sufferings and his death: moreover, he was a witness, that is, a minister, and preacher of the sufferings of Christ, and of the doctrines of peace, pardon, justification, and salvation through them; as appears from all his sermons recorded in the "Acts of the Apostles", and from these his epistles: and besides, he was a partaker of the sufferings of Christ; he bore witness to him, by suffering for him; and as the Apostle Paul did, filled up the afflictions of Christ in his flesh; he, with other apostles, were put into the common prison by the Jewish sanhedrim, for preaching Christ, as he afterwards was by Herod; and had, doubtless, by this time, gone through a variety of sufferings for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, as he afterwards glorified God by dying that death, which his Lord and master signified to him before hand; and therefore a very proper person to exhort these elders to discharge their work and office, and persevere in it, whatever they were called to suffer for it:

and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed; which some think has reference to the transfiguration of Christ upon the mount, where Peter was present, and saw the glory of Christ, and of those that were with him, Moses and Elias, and enjoyed their company, and heard their conversation with so much pleasure and delight, that he was for continuing there; and which was an emblem and pledge of the glory of Christ, that was afterwards to be revealed, and still is to be revealed, and so the Syriac version renders it, "a partaker of his glory": of the glory of Christ, see 1 Peter 4:13 or it regards the eternal glory and happiness of the saints, which is at present hid, and unseen, but shall be revealed at the last time, at the coming of Christ, when he shall appear in his glory, both to the saints, in them, and upon them; a glory which shall be both upon body and soul; and this the apostle calls himself a partaker of, as in Christ, his head and representative, and because of his interest in it, his assurance of right unto it, and meetness for it, and the certainty of enjoying it; nothing being more sure than this, that those that suffer with Christ, and for his sake, shall be glorified with him. Now, the exhortation of a person in such an office, as before expressed, and of one that was an eyewitness of Christ's sufferings, and had endured so much for Christ, and had had so large an experience of his grace, and such full assurance of glory, must carry great weight and influence in it, and is as follows.

The {1} elders which are among you {2} I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

(1) He describes peculiarly the office of the Elders, that is to say, of them that have the care of the Church.

(2) He uses a preface concerning the circumstance of his own person: that is, that he as their companion communes with them not of manners which he knows not, but in which he is as well experienced as any, and propounds to them no other condition but that which he himself has sustained before them, and still takes the same trouble, and also has the same hope together with them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 5:1. New exhortations in the first place to the πρεσβύτεροι and the νεότεροι as far as 1 Peter 5:5; then to all, without distinction, 1 Peter 5:5-9.

πρεσβυτέρους οὖν τοὺς ἐν ὑμῖν παρακαλῶ] πρεσβύτεροι are the presidents of the congregations. The name is employed here probably not without reference to age (“the elders”) (see 1 Peter 5:5), though this is disputed by Hofmann, who, however, fails to give any reason for so doing. The article is awanting “because πρεσβ. is considered as definite of itself” (Wiesinger), and not “because Peter had not a more accurate knowledge of the constitution of the churches” (Schott). If the reading οὖν be adopted, these and the following exhortations connect themselves, as conclusions drawn from it, with the preceding conception ἀγαθοποιΐα, for the passages 1 Thessalonians 4:1 and Matthew 7:15 do not prove that οὖν expresses “only the continuance of the exhortation” (Hofmann). The reading ἐν ὑμῖν, without τούς, is opposed by the want of the article before πρεσβυτέρους.

ὁ συμπρεσβύτερος καὶ κ.τ.λ.] Peter adds these designations of himself, in order thus to give the more weight to his παρακαλεῖν. He calls himself συμπρεσβύτερος because of his office. What the elders were for the individual congregations, that were the apostles for the whole church, since they had the superintendence of the entire system of congregations.[263] By this name Peter, in humble love (Gualter: nota humilitatem Petri qui minime jus primatus in se cognovit), places himself on an equal footing with the elders proper; Bengel: hortatio mutua inter aequales et collegas imprimis valet. It is less natural to assume, with Hofmann, that in thus speaking of himself Peter “would emphasize the share he had in responsibility for the weal and woe of the congregations.”

ΚΑῚ ΜΆΡΤΥς ΤῶΝ ΤΟῦ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ ΠΑΘΗΜΆΤΩΝ] By ΤᾺ ΤΟῦ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ ΠΑΘΉΜΑΤΑ must not be understood the sufferings which the apostle had to undergo in following Christ, but those which Christ Himself endured; cf. chap. 1 Peter 4:13. Yet Peter calls himself a ΜΆΡΤΥς, not only because he was an eye-witness of them (cf. Acts 10:39) (Aretius: oculatus testis, qui praecipuis ejus aerumnis interfui), but also because he proclaimed those sufferings which he himself had seen[264] (cf. Acts 1:8; Acts 1:22; Acts 13:31). This he did, in the first place, by his words, but at the same time also by his sufferings (a fact which Hofmann should not have denied), in which he was a κοινωνὸς τῶν τοῦ Χρ. παθημάτων (chap. 1 Peter 4:13) (Wiesinger, Schott). What follows seems also to refer to this.[265]

De Wette thinks that whilst by “συμπρεσβ.” Peter puts himself on an equality with the elders, he by the second designation places himself above them. But if this had been his intention, he would hardly have included both under the one article; the elders, too, were equally called to be μάρτυρες τῶν Χρ. παθ., although Peter, as an eye-witness, occupied “a special position” (Brückner).

ὃ καὶ τῆς μελλούσηςκοινωνός] Several of the older commentators incorrectly supply “τοῦ Χριστοῦ” to δόξης; it is not merely the glory of Christ which is meant, but the δόξα, which, at the revelation of that glory, shall be revealed in all those who are His; cf. Romans 8:18; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 3:2.

κοινωνός means simply the participation in that glory. Although it is not equivalent to συγκοινωνός (Php 1:7), still the apostle has in his soul the consciousness of being a fellow-sharer with those to whom he is speaking.

The particle καί, “also,” unites the two ideas: μαρτὺς τῶνπαθημάτων and κοινωνὸς τῆςδόξης together; because the apostle is the former, he will also be the latter. Yet this does not compel the adoption, with Hofmann, of the reading “” (equal to διʼ ὅ, “wherefore”) instead of . Although μάρτυς, which is closely connected with συμπρεσβύτερος, has no article, it does not follow that κοινωνός can have none either. The N. T. usage is opposed to the interpretation of by διʼ ὅ, Galatians 2:10; cf. Meyer in loc.; cf. also Winer, p. 135 [E. T. 178].

[263] Hofmann: “The apostles were the overseers of the universal church of Christ; each of them therefore in so far shared in the administration of all the single congregations, inasmuch as these were in the universal church.”

[264] It cannot be denied that, in accordance with its almost uniform usage in the N. T., the word μαρτύς possesses this secondary meaning (as opposed to Hofmann).

[265] Wiesinger: “The antithesis ὁ καὶ τῆς μελλ. ἀποκ. δόξης κοινωνός presupposes the κοινωνεῖν τοῖς τ. Χρ. παθ.”1 Peter 5:1. οὖν, therefore—since your suffering is according to God’s will and calls only for the normal self-devotion, which Christ required of His disciples—go on with the duties of the station of life in which you are called.—πρεσβυτέρους, not merely older men as contrasted with younger (1 Peter 5:5), but elders, such as had been appointed by Paul and Barnabas in the Churches of Southern Asia (Acts 14:23). The collective τῶν κλήρων (1 Peter 5:3) and the exhortation, shepherd the flock (1 Peter 5:2) prove that they are the official heads of the communities addressed. Similarly St. Paul bade the elders of the Church (Acts 20:17) at Ephesus take heed to themselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit appointed you overseers. The use of the term in direct address here carries with it a suggestion of the natural meaning of the word and perhaps also of the early technical sense, one of the first generation of Christians Both Jews and Gentiles were familiar with the title which was naturally conferred upon those who were qualified in point of years; the youthful Timothy was a marked exception to the general rule (1 Timothy 4:12).—ἐν ὑμῖν. Peter does not address them as mere officials, your elders, but prefers a vaguer form of expression, elders who are among you; cf. τὸ ἐν ὑμῖν ποίμνιον, which also evades any impairing of the principle, ye are Christ’s.—ὁ συμπρεσβύτεροςκοινωνός. This self-designation justifies Peter’s right to exhort them. He is elder like them, in all senses of the word. If their sufferings occupy their mind, he was witness of the sufferings of Christ; of his own, if any, he does not speak. He has invited them to dwell rather on the thought of the future glory and this he is confident of sharing.—μάρτυςπαθημάτων. Such experience was the essential qualification of an Apostle in the strict sense; only those who were companions of the Twelve in all the time from John’s baptism to the Assumption or at least witnesses of the Resurrection (Acts 1:22) were eligible; as Jesus said, the Paraclete shall testify and do you testify because ye are with Me from the beginning (John 15:27). That he speaks of the sufferings and not of the resurrection which made the sufferer Messiah, is due partly to the circumstances of his readers, partly to his own experience. For him these sufferings had once overshadowed the glory; he could sympathise with those oppressed by persecution and reproach, who understood now, as little as he then, that it was all part of the sufferings of the Messiah. He had witnessed but at the last test refused to share them.—κοινωνός. Peter will share the future glory which Christ already enjoys for it was said to him, Thou shall follow afterward (John 13:36). St. Paul has the same idea in a gnomic form, εἴπερ συνπάσχομεν ἵνα καὶ συνδοξασθῶμεν (Romans 8:17; cf. 2 Corinthians 4:10) which presupposes familiarity with the teaching of the risen Jesus that the Christ must suffer and so enter into His glory, Luke 24:46; cf. Luke 1:5; Luke 1:13; Luke 4:13.1. The elders which are among you] Some of the better MSS. present the reading The elders therefore among you. If we adopt this reading we have the latent sequence of thought in the idea suggested by the word “well-doing” in chap. 1 Peter 4:19, or by the “judgment” of chap. 1 Peter 4:17. The work of the elders was to be directed to strengthen men in the one, to prepare them for the other. It is obvious that the Apostle addresses those who are “elders” in the special sense of the word, as in Acts 11:30; Acts 15:22; Acts 20:17. The last passage shews, as compared with Acts 20:28, that the term was interchangeable with “Bishops.” See also Titus 1:5; Titus 1:7, and the notes on 1 Peter 5:2.

who am also an elder] If the word was used in its official sense in the first clause it cannot well be taken in any other sense here. The Apostle, with a profound humility, strikingly in contrast with the supremacy claimed by his successors, puts himself, as a fellow elder, on a level with the elders to whom he writes, with duties to be fulfilled in the same spirit, subject to the same conditions.

a witness of the sufferings of Christ] The words bring out the one point on which he lays stress as distinguishing himself from others. He was in a special sense a “witness” of the actual sufferings of the man Christ Jesus (Acts 1:8-22; Acts 13:31), while they were partakers of those sufferings as reproduced in the experience of His people. As in chap. 1 Peter 1:11, 1 Peter 4:13, the thought of those sufferings leads, in immediate sequence, to that of the glory which is their ultimate issue. The Greek word for “partaker” (literally, a joint partaker, a fellow-sharer with you) implies that he is, as before, dwelling on what he has in common with those to whom he writes (comp. Php 1:7). Some interpreters of note have seen, even in the description which he gives of himself as a “witness,” not that which was distinctive, but the work which he had in common with others, of bearing his testimony that Christ had suffered, and that His servants also must therefore expect suffering.1 Peter 5:1. Πρεσβυτέρους, elders) A title of office, in 1 Peter 5:2; and of age, in 1 Peter 5:5.—συμπρεσβύτερος, a fellow-elder) Mutual exhortation has great weight among equals and colleagues. With propriety and modesty does the first of the apostles thus speak of himself.—καὶ μάρτυς, and a witness) Peter had both witnessed the sufferings of the Lord Himself, and he was now enduring sufferings.—δόξης, of glory) 1 Peter 5:4; 2 Peter 1:16.—κοινωνὸς, a partaker) Apocalypse Revelation 1:9. An incentive to good shepherds.Verse 1. - The elders which are among you I exhort. The Vatican and Alexandrine Manuscripts omit the article, and insert "therefore" (the Sinaitic gives both), reading, "Elders, therefore, among you I exhort." The solemn thoughts of the last chapter, the coming judgment, the approach of persecution, the necessity of perseverance in well-doing, suggest the exhortation; hence the "therefore." The context shows that the apostle is using the word "elder" (πρεσβύτερος, presbyter) in its official sense, though its original meaning was also in his thoughts, as appears by ver. 5. We first meet with the word in the Old Testament (Exodus 3:16, 18; Exodus 24:9; Numbers 11:16; Joshua 20:4, etc.). Used originally with reference to age, it soon became a designation of office. Very early in the history of the Christian Church we meet with the same title. It occurs first in Acts 11:30. The Christians of Antioch make a collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, and send their alms by the hand of Barnabas and Saul to the elders of the Jerusalem Church. We read several times of these elders in Acts xv. as associated with the apostles in the consideration of the great question of the circumcision of Gentile Christians; they joined with St. James in the official reception of St. Paul at his last visit to Jerusalem (Acts 21:18). It appears, then, that the Christian presbyterate originated in the mother Church of Jerusalem. It was soon introduced into the daughter Churches; the apostles Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in every Church during the first missionary journey (Acts 14:23); and the various notices scattered over the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles imply the early establishment of the office throughout the Church. Who am also an elder ὁ συμπρεσβύτερος. St. Peter, though holding the very highest rank in the Church as an apostle of Christ, one of those who were to sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28), claims no supremacy; he simply designates himself as a brother presbyter. So also St. John (2 John 1; 3 John 1). He exhorts the presbyters as a brother, and grounds his exhortation on community of office. The absence of any note of distinction between bishops and presbyters is, so far, an indication of the early date of this Epistle, as against Hilgenfeld and others. And a witness of the sufferings of Christ. This was his one distinction above those whom he addresses. Like St. John, he declared unto them that which he had heard, which he had seen with his eyes. He had seen the Lord bound and delivered into the hands of wicked men; probably he had watched his last sufferings among them which stood afar off. And also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. The thought of the sufferings of Christ leads on to the thought of the future glory (comp. 1 Peter 1:11; 1 Peter 4:13). Perhaps St. Peter was also thinking of the Lord's promise to himself, "Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards" (John 13:36). Also an elder (συμπρεσβύτερος)

Only here in New Testament. Better, as Rev., fellow-elder. The expression is decisive against the primacy of Peter.

Witness (μάρτυς)

The word is used in the New Testament to denote (a) a spectator or eye-witness (Acts 10:39; Acts 6:13). (b) One who testifies to what he has seen (Acts 1:8; Acts 5:32). (c) In the forensic sense, a witness in court (Matthew 26:65; Mark 14:63). (d) One who vindicates his testimony by suffering: a martyr (Acts 22:20; Hebrews 12:1; Revelation 2:13; Revelation 17:6). The first three meanings run into each other. The eye-witness, as a spectator, is always such with a view to giving testimony. Hence this expression of Peter cannot be limited to the mere fact of his having seen what he preached; especially since, when he wishes to emphasize this fact, he employs another word, ἐπόπτης (2 Peter 1:16). Therefore he speaks of himself as a witness, especially in the sense of being called to testify of what he has seen.

Partaker (κοινωνός)

This use of the word, expressing a present realization of something not yet attained, occurs in no other writer in the New Testament. See on 2 Peter 1:4.

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